March 8th, 2012
10:12 PM ET
11 years ago

'Game Change' actors dish on Palin, portrayals and politics

Washington (CNN) - Actress Julianne Moore, who portrays former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the HBO movie “Game Change,” said she was surprised to learn how disorganized the McCain-Palin campaign was in 2008.

“I really had an assumption that things were more organized than they are,” she told CNN on the red carpet before a screening at the Newseum in Washington.

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“I think this campaign was notorious for being a difficult one and one that was pretty disorganized,” she said.

The movie won’t be shown to wider audiences until its 9 p.m. Saturday showing on HBO, but it has already sparked political controversy over its portrayal of the then-governor of Alaska and Sen. John McCain, who headed the Republican presidential ticket in 2008.

The movie has been criticized for focusing only on two chapters of the book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Those chapters focus on Palin’s campaign as McCain’s running mate.

Palin and McCain turned down interview requests by movie director Jay Roach, so he said he used the reporting by Halperin and Heilemann along with voice recordings of Palin reading her own books to make the story as authentic as possible.

“(The voice recordings) added a whole other layer of empathy for me,” he said. “It actually added a few details. When she calls her son in Iraq in the middle of the election, it’s very moving.”

Actress Sarah Paulson, who plays Palin’s senior campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace, said she became more politically tuned in during that campaign.

“The story of this election was something that made me much more political than I had ever been in my life. The introduction of Sarah Palin to the national scene was something that did make me stand up and take notice,” Paulson said.

“I think the movie is less about Sarah Palin … (than) about our political system and the way we choose our candidates,” she said.

“I mean, we seem to be attracted again and again to kind of a personal charisma and a physical attractiveness and a movie star quality, and I personally don't think that those are traits our leaders need to have,” said Moore.

The senator’s wife, Cindy McCain, told CNN's Piers Morgan earlier this week that “I lived this, and from everything I've read and heard it doesn't even resemble what took place.”

She took issue with the movie’s reported portrayal of Palin.

“I think what happened to her is totally unfair. I am truly sorry if they have depicted her in any fashion other than a strong, independent woman,” she said.

CNN and HBO are subsidiaries of Time-Warner, Inc.

Also see:

Obama and Romney ahead in ad fight

First on CNN: Santorum super PAC hits Alabama and Mississippi airwaves

Obama releases movie trailer a week before campaign film's debut

Cindy McCain defends Palin over HBO film

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I haven't seen it, but I am willing to believe that Palin wasn't ready then. She doesn't seem ready now either. I don't know if it is her lack of understanding or the fact that she doesn't appreciate learning and intelligence. Her folksy way doesn't strike me as being a good person to lead. It doesn't show the true strength of the country.

    March 8, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. bassman

    Tell the truth CNN, Nicole Wallace has been caught lying. POLITICO had the lie:

    Former Bush White House official Nicolle Wallace drew a swift rebuke from one of her former McCain campaign colleagues Wednesday, for claiming in an interview that the 2008 McCain team discussed whether or not it was “appropriate” for Sarah Palin to be sworn in as vice president.
    Wallace, who worked with the McCain-Palin ticket in the general election, was promoting a novel she wrote an interview with Time when she said: “There certainly were discussions – not for long because of the arc the campaign took – but certainly there were discussions about whether, if they were to win, it would be appropriate to be sworn in.”
    Continue Reading
    That assertion is “not true” and “bizarre,” said Charlie Black, a veteran of Republican presidential politics who was one of McCain’s closest advisers in the 2008 race.

    March 8, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  3. Larry L

    Just look at the 2012 Republican primary election! Has anybody seen a more disorganized goat rope? They can't even get on the ballots or count the votes! Republicans are good at whining about all of the problems in America... problems they created with greed, bigotry and dishonesty.

    March 8, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  4. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin will be our next and greatest President of all times. This movie will not be able to stop the inevitable rise and ascension of the Chosen One.

    March 9, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  5. thomas

    Newt Goodwrench / Sarah Palin 2012

    Better and smarter , New Improved

    March 9, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  6. Larry

    No surprise to me, but yet obama narrowly won the election. That speaks volumes about the people in our country.(An unorganized team and an idiot for vp) I mean really america.

    March 9, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  7. bess moore

    Omg! How could anyone defend Sarah Palin? Cindy McCain of all people. They are both an embarrassment to intelligent women. What a joke.

    March 9, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  8. Wendy

    What say you roger ailles? you spread her fame via fox noise. is silly sarah exploding your head now?

    March 9, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  9. Jess C

    @ Larry: Your are dead wrong, check you facts if you think Obama "narrowly won" the election, he drove it home big time. It was Bush who narrowly won both times. Shame on those who made that happen. Of course, we all remember what went on in Florida.

    March 10, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Sam

    Obama said yopu will know them by the company they keep. That make Obama a communist! Exactly what we got!

    March 10, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. TPF

    Sarah Palin is not an intelligent person at all. She's a FAKE and America has her number now.

    March 10, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. Arnold Ziffle

    The Sarah Palin doll.
    Pull her string and she whines.

    March 10, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Gezellig

    @bassman said: "Tell the truth CNN, Nicole Wallace has been caught lying. POLITICO had the lie:" This sounds like a he said/she said situation between Nicolle Wallace and Charlie Black. I kind of doubt that Charlie Black can claim knowledge of every discussion that may have taken place within the campaign; so I would be hesitant to conclude that he is correct and what she said was a lie.

    March 10, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. MaryAngeline

    Had she been properly vetted, she never ever would've been chosen. She was totally lacking n the basic knowledge it takes to represent the US on the world stage. Bottom line, McCain is responsible for being unbelievably irresponsible for the choice of his dimwitted VP candidate. Still can't help to think we here in the US dodged a bullet is sending her back to AK.

    March 10, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. Veridico

    To all the critics of Sarah Palin in this post, how well is the Country doing right now, under the "uber" intelligent Obama? Just asking.

    March 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Gaylon Barrow

    What your telling me by duplicate post is that you do not intend to post anything against the Liberals. RIGHT CNN?

    March 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. GerryG

    Cindy and John McCain continue to portray the half-gov. as a responsible public figure who is being treated unfairly and inaccurately. This is self-serving to cover up one of the worst political decisions in campaign history. McCains eternal lapse of judgement and his blind alegiance to this nitwit will be his lasting legacy, the only thing people will remember about McCain – that he let this goofball genie out of the jar and now she is unleashed on America with enough pathetic followers to give her anothe anemic 15 minutes. Thanks McCains, thanks for everything.

    March 10, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. NateFromIndiana

    Sadly while the argument that "what has happened to Mrs Palin is unfair" might be accurate, it only supports the premise of Game Change, which is that she wasn't ready for that often-unfair scrutiny then, and clearly she's still in denial about that unpreparedness even now.

    March 10, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Living in the REAL world

    Another election year, another Hollywood attack ad/film against Republicans and conservatives. Nothing new here. The liberals use every means possible to spread their lies and fantasies. It is true that Joseph Goebbels is alive and well and living in Hollywood and working for the Democrats and Obama.

    March 10, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. REG in AZ

    The movie is just entertainment. Palin in real life is disgustingly totally self-focused and offensive.

    March 10, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. majicmahon

    Sarah Palin has talking up this movie for a month. First she gave the impression, it's typical leftist hit job and she;s not concerned but the last week, she has been whining about it like she's actually relevant at all, any more. Sarah....your time was up 4 years ago. Still dummer than a light switch with 3 black wires.

    March 10, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Annie, Atlanta

    I saw that segment of the interview with Cindy McCain and I have to say it was interesting to see Morgan not call her out for saying she didn't like the portrayal of Palin even though she didn't see the movie. Then to see Cindy McCain quoted here, once again without her having seen the move or the portrayal of Palin, tells me just about everything I need to know about the state of journalism today.

    Why is she quoted here? She didn't see the movie. How can she comment on the portrayal, and how can you quote her comment on the portrayal. This is absurd and sheer laziness. Quote someone connected with the campaign who actually saw the movie for crying out loud. She said he said about something they know nothing about is ridiculous, and isn't newsworthy, darn it.

    March 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. majicmahon

    Hey, instead of your smokes and a'll see what Obama has done. He's taken a near-dead nation that was economically strapped, lost in two wars, high in unemployment and started to turn these things around. It's done more to clean up GW's mess in 3 years than GW did in 8 years. First the operation, then recovery and now rehab. Trouble with the righties is in their denial. They know Obama can really do it in the next 4 years without the GW distractions.

    March 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. majicmahon

    Sam- "company he keeps"? Remember the pics of Rumsfield shaking Saddams hand? How about Ken Lay and Bush? How about Jack Abramoff? What about Ollie North giving the Afghans guns that are killing US/Alllied forces? How about Cheney and Haliburton? Give your head a shake. I don't even want to bring up Watergate. Oops just did.

    March 10, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Bob Hamilton

    Some people seem to miss the point about Sarah Palin. There is no doubt that she is, as Mrs. McCain said, a strong, independent woman. She is also very motivated, ambitious, attractive, energetic, and hard working. There are a lot of positive things that you could say about her except the most important ones. Prepared, experienced, intelligent, or able.

    March 10, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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